Sunday, June 2, 2013

A Brief History on Pepper Spray


Pepper Spray didn’t become popular as a personal self-defense spray until about 1987 to 1988 in the United States. However we find that in ancient China the warriors used red chili pepper as a self-defense weapon.

The Chinese wrapped ground cayenne pepper in rice papers to throw in the faces of their enemies. The use of this ground pepper was the weapon of choice to incapacitate a person momentarily. In ancient Japan the Ninjas had been using ground pepper to disable their adversaries for hundreds of years. Researching historical data we find that the Tokagawa era in the early 1600s used a weapon called a Metsubishi. This weapon was used to blind the enemy. This Metsubishi was constructed of a small square or round box that was hollow and could be loaded with different pepper powders and even some ground glass. A short tube with a mouthpiece was attached and this allowed the operator to blow the powder mix in the face of their assailants. Almost all of these early peppers were made by grinding red chili pepper.

Returning from the 16th century, law enforcement agencies in the United States started using pepper spray for riot control after World War II. Today there isn’t a police or security officer that doesn’t carry some form of pepper spray.

Used as an extremely effective disabling spray against humans, it was soon found to also be effective against attacking animals such as domestic dogs, wild mountain lions and even bears. United States letter carriers are issued pepper spray as a defense against dog attacks, while delivering the mail.

Pepper spray is used to disable an assailant for a short time, and has no long-term effects. This allows you to escape an attack and contact authorities for help. Pepper Spray, although legal in all states of the United States, does have some restrictions and limitations on carrying, buying and shipping. You should check your local laws and ordinances before carrying or ordering pepper spray.

Today pepper spray is made of a derivative of cayenne pepper. The compound is mixed with an emulsifier that suspends it in water and the combination is placed in an aerosol container. This allows it to be carried conveniently and available for use immediately. When a person is sprayed in the face with pepper spray it causes tearing almost to the point of temporary blindness. Side effects are pain, coughing and choking, making breathing difficult.

Another self-defense spray available is Mace, which is made of a high-grade Oleoresin Capsicum or OC pepper. This will cause the eyes to slam shut, and cause choking and a painful burning sensation. The hottest pepper spray available as determined by an independent lab is Wildfire 18% which measures at 242,000 Scoville Heat Units.

Anyone who has been trained by the military or a police department has experienced the effects of pepper spray during their training. This experience is very uncomfortable and debilitating, but the effects are not long-lasting. Usually the effects dissipate after 15 to 20 minutes. Rubbing of the eyes will prolong or intensify the effect while flushing with water can help relieve the burning sensation. Using baby shampoo on the skin can relieve the burning and blinking the eyes can cause tearing to flush the eyes.

Doug Harper is the owner of SharperSafety.com.

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